3rd Prize, Illinois State Fair, 2013


Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance



Illinois State Fair

August 17, 2013




cherry dessert

(images by Catherine Lambrecht)


Third Prize:


Linda Cifuentes, Mahomet, Illinois



Bublanina is a Czech coffeecake. This recipe was handed down to me from my mother Helen Brezinsky Holas who got it from her Babi (Czech for grandma) Philomena Sekera. My great-grandmother, Philomena, came to the United States in 1902 from Prague along with her husband and three children through Ellis Island. Philomena’s middle child was my grandma Elizabeth Sekera Brezinsky. The family settled in Cicero which along with Berwyn was predominantly Czech community. This area featured bakeries, butcher shops, and flower shops where mostly Czech was spoken.


By the time my grandma Betty was married my great grandfather had passed away and Philomena; my great-grandma lived with her and her family which included the baby of that family; my mom Helen. Philomena was a great cook and this was a good thing because grandma Betty was not. Philomena did most of the cooking and passed her love for cooking and her skill to her mom. I would like to think then my mom passed that down to me.


Bublanina was a summer staple that became a summer tradition. I remember when I was a little girl and my mom pulled out the old and worn cookie sheet we knew it was time for Bublanina. I would sit at the table for what seemed like forever for the coveted cake to get into the oven. It seemed to take my mom forever to pit and cut those cherries. The waiting was soooo worth it!!  I would grab a couple of slices right out of the pan and run to the living room to devour them. Being of chubby stature; then and now I always went back for more.


Bublanina has now become a tradition in my family–It isn’t summer if you don’t have Bublanina. Making this coffeecake also brings back happy memories from my childhood and of my mom! considering how far this recipe traveled it also reminds me of my family history.




Linda Cifuentes, Mahomet, Illinois


1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter

4 whole eggs

1/4 tsp lemon extract

1 3/4 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

2 pounds bing cherries; pitted and halved



Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk. Add extract. Blend well. Pour batter on to a cookie sheet that has been greased and sprinkled with bread crumbs. place cherries over entire top of batter. Bake 1/2 hour in a 350F oven


handwritten recipe


handwriten recipe